Challenging gender stereotypes with a unique Women in Business event

Wendy Lavin, Employer Engagement Officer at Career Connect, explains how Career Connect used both the content and format of a schools’ event for challenging stereotypes and creating impactful experiences for pupils.

“We were tasked with organising and delivering an event for Year 9 pupils, aimed at raising aspirations and challenging gender-based career stereotypes.

“Each year in partnership with the school, we deliver a Women in Business event – and each year the volunteers attending the event grows and diversifies.

“We arranged for inspiring women from a range of occupations and employers to attend school. Prior to the event, each attendee was briefed, and the concept of the event explained. We also supported attendees to prepare for the event in terms of how to present the information they wanted to discuss with pupils, and feel more confident in sharing their own career journey and lived experiences.

“The school supported the students by giving them time to think of questions they wanted to ask, and to take time to understand the different occupations of the attendees.

“On the day, each attendee was welcomed to the school and supported by Career Connect staff with the timings and running order. 

“Pupils made their way around a carousel, speaking to each attendee and asking them a series of questions…

“…and then the students were challenged to guess their occupations! 

“The ‘big reveal’ was made during a panel session, where each attendee discussed their profession and career journey.

“There were audible gasps from the pupils as some of their guesses were wrong and some right!

“Our guests were able to challenge stereotypes, with many of them working in non-traditional roles or STEM careers, and some not looking how the pupils expected someone in that job to look.

“The feedback from pupils and staff was that the event really opened their eyes to what could be achieved, and what sort of careers were open to them after school.

“Having a diverse range of professions was key and the students asked insightful questions which furthered their knowledge and understanding.

“The feedback from the professionals who attended was fantastic too, as they got a lot from the event and all were really passionate about inspiring the next generation of potential employees.

“After the event, the pupils were given the opportunity to reflect on their experience, discuss with their form tutors what this may mean for their future career choice, how they were inspired during the event, and what they were planning to do next.

“While the benefit for the pupils at events like this is clear, the benefit for employers and professionals is key too.

“It is a significant way for employers to engage with the next generation, challenge stereotypes and meet their social value commitments; to give back in local communities, promote their work and organisation.” 

We work with really committed businesses and employees, and we want to say thank you to all of those who continue to support us each year and inspire young people across the UK.

If you are a school or business and would like to find out about working with Career Connect, get in touch with our team via our Contact Us page.

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